Angels vs Royals : ALDS preview

Angels vs Royals : ALDS preview

Jered Weaver will try to cool down Kansas City when the Los Angeles Angels host the revved-up Royals in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday. Kansas City recorded a wild 9-8, 12-inning victory over the Oakland Athletics in Tuesday’s wild-card game, stealing seven bases to match a postseason record and scoring twice in the bottom of the 12th for the win. The Angels led the AL with 98 victories and won the AL West by 10 games.

There was a lot of chatter about Garrett Richards supplanting Weaver as Los Angeles’ ace until Richards suffered a season-ending knee injury. Weaver ended up tied for AL lead in victories and he is being counted on to step up in a postseason in which Los Angeles expects to reach the World Series. The Royals, who displayed big-time resilience in the wild-card victory, will start Jason Vargas – Weaver’s former college teammate at Long Beach State.

TV: 9:07 p.m. ET, TBS

PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals LH Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71 ERA) vs. Angels RH Jered Weaver (18-9, 3.59)

Vargas had a rough September, going 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA in five outings. He had a 6.10 ERA in two no-decisions against Los Angeles this season and is 5-4 with a 3.02 ERA in 15 career appearances (14 starts) against the Angels. Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA for Los Angeles in 2013 before leaving as a free agent and signing with Kansas City.

Weaver didn’t face the Royals this season and is 7-4 with a 2.21 ERA in 12 career starts. This will be his fourth career postseason start and he is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in six appearances (three starts). Weaver went 3-2 with a 3.66 ERA in five September starts and gave up three homers while losing to Seattle in his final regular-season start.

WALK-OFFS

1. The teams split six regular-season meetings this season.

2. Los Angeles LF Josh Hamilton (shoulder) pronounced himself ready after missing 22 of the final 23 regular-season contests.

3. Kansas City DH Raul Ibanez is 15-for-36 with four homers against Weaver, while LF Alex Gordon is 4-for-20 with nine strikeouts.